“Alright, that’s it!” Brick kicked against the bumper repeatedly, shaking the vehicle over and over again as the black smoke continued to leak through the hood of the truck. “We are never taking this hunk of junk anywhere ever again!”
“Well, don’t fuckin’ break it!” Mark scolded, shoving him away far enough to save the truck from another beating. “We may not have the money to get another working vehicle but we can still use this hunk of junk, alright? Look, we’re like,” He cocked his head past Brick to get a better estimate. “We’re not even a few blocks from HQ! One of us can run down and gather some help to push the car back in the gate so we can get Ana to make some repairs.”
“Ana’s worked on this junk several times throughout the last few months,” Brick crossed his arms over his chest. “It’s costing a lot more resources than it’s worth. In fact, I’m pretty sure we’d have our new truck right now if we hadn’t kept investing into this piece of crap.”
“Greg’s just being a big ol’ dick today!” Mark shouted enthusiastically while comforting and patting the hood of the truck. “He’s just mad that we share a very special connection, girl.”
“Okay,” Brick shook his head and turned to look over at me after realizing that Mark wasn’t going to give it up. “What’s the call, Sam?”
“Well, I’m starting to think we should give Mark and the truck some time to themselves.” I suggested as I reached for the right side and began climbing out from the back. “Just sitting back here while they do their thing is making me a bit uncomfortable now.”
“Not as uncomfortable as Chris looks,” Mark commented while tipping his cowboy hat.
“What the hell is he doing?” Brick asked as the scene continued to unfold.
We were too far to hear anything but he was pacing around in circles like a madman. In front of our home, there was a man standing a few feet from his small car. His arms were being thrown into the air every few seconds, making some sudden jerking motions and it looked like he might’ve been yelling or going off on Chris. I couldn’t make out whether he was alone or not, but I was surprised to see Chris hadn’t left his post. He wasn’t exactly the center of… well, he didn’t really talk to people. And he definitely didn’t talk to people outside of the group, let alone work well under pressure.
“We’ll come back for the truck,” I said as I started walking towards the house before breaking out into a jog alongside Mark and Brick.
As we neared the two, I could hear the stranger yelling and swearing in frustration.
“C-captain!” Chris nervously broke into an immediate standing upright posture, throwing his chest out and his shoulders back. His actions caught the stranger by complete surprise, leaving him with his mouth and eyes gaped open slightly.
“You guys are part of the New Government?” He asked somewhere between cautiously and irritably.
“What’s it matter to you?” Brick countered. “Most of us are special forces trained by the New Government, sure.”
“Great,” He responded with dry sarcasm. “So that’s why this idiot won’t let us in, right? Why let families in when you can give special treatment to all the politicians and other important people that don’t deserve it?”
“What makes you think you or your family is more deserving than they are?” I asked as I crossed my arms over my chest. “I work with politicians from time-to-time, and I’ll have you know that some of them are pretty decent people with really great families and right now, you’re giving me more reason to turn you away than let you through the gate.”
“You’re military,” He said with a firm tone. “You’re supposed to be fighting for us, to protect the people. How can you just stand there and condemn us to die by not sharing what you have with the rest of us?”
“We’re rogues,” Mark defended with clarification. “We found and secured this facility, broke our backs putting the fence around the entire perimeter and live off the damn trees that God graciously gave us. Believe me, sir, I think we’ve earned the right to call whether we’re sharing with you or not.”
The five of us looked toward his car. In the passenger seat, there was a nervous woman calling out to him while holding an anxious young boy in her lap. They were obviously scared of their current situation and I couldn’t blame them, not during these times. You just couldn’t really trust people much these days.
“Just, uh,” He gestured with both hands in an attempt to secure what he felt might’ve been his last chance to persuade us. “Don’t leave, okay? Give me a minute, please?”
“Go on,” Brick nodded, giving Billy the reassurance he needed before moving towards his car to calm his family down.
“I-i’m so sorry, Captain!” Chris apologized suddenly. “He just pulled up and started buzzing in. People were freaking out so we kinda tried to stop him but then he started yelling and-!”
“Relax,” I reassured him with a firm pat on the shoulder. “You did good, Chris, but we’ve got it from here. Why don’t you see if we can get a room ready for them on the third floor, alright? Check with Elika first though and see if we can have fresh blankets for them tonight.”
“Right,” He said with a more confident smile before turning away. “I’ll let her know, Captain.”
“You really think we should let this guy in?” Mark asked uncertain. “He’s temperamental and impulsive.”
“We can’t count him out yet,” I sighed as I watched the man smiling and putting on a tough act for his family, doing his absolute best to keep them from falling apart. “Same rules as always, Mark. We test him. If he passes, they’ll have the opportunity to settle in their room and call it home. If not, we’ll send them on their way.”
“What if he refuses to give up his gun?” Mark questioned.
“What makes you think he’s got a gun?” Brick countered.
“A man doesn’t walk around without something to protect his family,” I explained as I eyed his waist, searching for some sort of holster or concealed weapon. “Desperate men are more dangerous than the hounds they run from and if things don’t go his way in the next few minutes, we’re either going to have to hope he runs off with what’s left of his gas tank or put a bullet in his head before we’re the ones to meet our maker.”
“You’re not serious,” Brick chuckled humorlessly until he realized just how serious I was. “You think he’s really going to open fire on us with his family in the car? He’s desperate, sure, but he doesn’t look stupid.”
“We didn’t think Crazy Joffrey was going to pull his gun on us either,” Mark shook his head in disgust as he reminisced on the past experience. “The sick fuck unloaded an entire magazine on Jax and Mikey before we could drop the bastard at the bottom of the lake. If he had waited for his night shift, none of us would be standing here having this little chat right now.”
“Look, obviously, the last thing I want to do is kill a man in cold blood.” I kept myself from speaking too loud as I glanced over at Brick. “I’m just saying that we need to be careful. Honestly, I’d rather not have to think about killing him so can we all just agree to turn him away if he doesn’t surrender his gun?”
“Fine,” The both said quickly and quietly as Billy began making his way back to us.
“Look, uh,” He paused for a moment and tried to get his thoughts together. “I’m sorry about before. We don’t have anything of value to trade or whatever, but it’s obvious that you guys aren’t like the New Government. Sage basically vouched for you when we got there. They told us to come here because you guys were their closest allies and that you’re good people, said you might have space for three more.”
“Chris– the guy you were going off on- was under direct orders– my orders- to not let you, or anyone else, inside of the gates.” I said as Billy swallowed down his guilt and took a deep breath. “You look like a good guy, Billy, and I want to let you in but I can’t do that if you’re carrying anything on your person that could potentially kill one of my people.”
“You want my gun,” He nodded several times while considering his options. “You’re basically asking me to trust that you won’t slit our throats while we sleep, or worse.”
“No,” I shook my head, “I’m asking you to give me some reason to trust that you’re really a father, and that the people sitting in your car right now are actually your family and not a gang of thugs looking to slit our throats while we sleep tonight.”
“We’re just looking for safe-zones that care about others, or at-least care enough to not sell their guests to the Infantry in the middle of the night. Most people out here wait months– if not years- on the list for the good community spots– like yours- to open and that’s if the Steel Infantry doesn’t find them first.” He said, genuinely surprised by what I thought he might be capable of. “Do you really think my kid’s gonna pull a knife on you?”
“I know it sounds crazy,” Mark chimed in with the sad reality of it all. “Believe it or not, your kid wouldn’t be the first person to try and pull off some crazy stunt like that.”
“So it’s not really safe anywhere, is it?” He sighed in defeat. “Even in large groups, people still try to ruin good things for everyone else.”
“No one can promise you that they can keep your family safe,” I said as I glanced between him and his family briefly. “However, I can promise that you and your family will have some place to sleep tonight… but you have to meet us half-way, Billy. If you can’t trust us with your family, then we can’t trust you with ours.”
“Yeah,” He said with an uneasy scoff. “Well, I know the gun is the deal-breaker but can you… I don’t know, uh… I need proof or something, you know? So far, I’ve only seen guys out here. I’d feel more comfortable if you could prove you’re really not part of the Steel Infantry, you know?”
“Sounds fair,” Brick rolled his shoulders back and nodded briefly. “I think we can-“
“I don’t know about this,” Mark looked around suspiciously, though he was careful not to put his hand on his gun before staring down the man. “How do we know you’re not really part of the Steel Infantry? How do we know you won’t signal your friends to come, and kill the women and children here? Look, man, we don’t owe you anything and we sure as hell don’t need to confirm anything with you.”
“You’re asking me to trust my wife and son with four– if not more- men!” Billy raised his voice, darting his eyes nervously between Mark and his holstered gun. “How can I trust that you’re not going to-?”
“Easy,” I raised my hands between the both of them, to help ease the situation before it could escalate any further. “I’m going to make this as simple as possible, alright?” I said to both of them with a firm tone as I turned over to Billy. “You want to see the community? You can see them when you hand over your weapons, and allow my men to search you and your family for any concealed weapons.”
“This isn’t something we negotiate,” I stepped forward as Billy immediately moved backwards. “You came to us, not the other way around. We’re not asking you to join our community. As a matter of fact, I distinctly remember you begging us to take you in. Now if you want to be part of it, you will hand over all weapons to us. Otherwise, you can get back into your car and we can both get on with our day.”
“Is there no other way to-?”
“You’re not listening to me so allow me to help you out a bit,” I raised my hand and lifted my index finger to him. “You have thirty seconds, starting when I lower my hand, to give us your answer. These are your options, and yes, you only get two. You can either return to your vehicle and drive away, or you can turn around and instruct all passengers to exit the vehicle in preparation for our procedural search.”
“So what’s it going to be?” Brick asked curiously as I lowered my hand back down to my side. “You in or out, Billy?”
“We’re in,” He finally conceded after a moment of silence and turned toward his car. “Amy, baby, they’re good! Come on out with Junior and don’t bring anything else with you, okay!”
“Line them up inside,” I said while looking over at Mark. “Go ahead and search Billy for any weapons, and have Grace come out to search his family and the boys meet us at the gate. We need to have one team search their car and another team bring the truck in for Ana to take a look at it.”
“Got it,” He nodded in confidence and turned his attention to our guests. “Billy, Amy! Please move this way quickly and quietly. We’re going to have both of you stand inside and off the street, alright?”
“Oh,” Brick sighed repressively. “Sure, let Mark worm his way out of moving his own piece of shit.”
“Come on,” I chuckled before jogging out back towards the truck. “I got to find a way to keep your ass in shape anyway!”
“I already told you that I’m just big-boned!” Brick countered from behind.
© Copyright 2017 JaayAnon. All rights reserved.
Book / Fantasy
Book / Gay and Lesbian
Short Story / Erotica